Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a joint appearance at a congress of the United Russia ruling party in Moscow, on September 24, 2011. Mr Putin was Russia’s president until Dmitry Medvedev took over in 2008.
At the United Russia congress, Mr Medvedev proposed that his predecessor should return to the job. Delegates cheered enthusiastically as Mr Putin accepted the proposal, saying it would be a “great honour” to run for the Russia presidency in 2012.
Putin’s bid is likely to see him hold the office of President until 2024.
Many observers say that Putin as prime minister was running Russia as a behind the scenes president and that his friend Dmitry Medvedev was just keeping his seat warm until his return.
Putin has a reputation as a bit of a wilderness macho prime minister – whether it was the nature-lover tracking whales, the people’s hero dousing wildfires, the action hero straddling Harleys or the deep sea adventurer uncovering ancient urns.
Despite his obvious popularity, outside Russia, Mr Putin’s regime is widely regarded as corrupt. Mr Putin is also kown to be quite blatant in his contempt towards the West.
Whoever actually holds the title of president is widely considered irrelevant – even without it, Mr Putin was clearly in charge.